peacefully on Sunday, January 31, 2011, during the early morning
in Memphis, TN.
She was born in Louisville, KY, before moving to Hattiesburg, MS,
where she had many relatives. As a teenager she moved to
Washington, DC, with her mother Margaret Leland Herbine, who
had remarried. She was graduated from the noted Western High
School (1937) in Georgetown and attended George Washington
University before being called to work on Capitol Hill.
Almost immediately Sen. Harry S. Truman offered her a position working with him and his
colleagues on the prominent wartime “Truman Committee”. During her work for Sen.
Truman she met her future husband, Mr. Truman’s press secretary and graduate of Yale,
Walter Hehmeyer of Caldwell, NJ. After their marriage she resigned from the committee,
but her husband continued to work as a consultant at the U. S. Senate during the Vice-
Presidency and Presidency of Mr. Truman.
The Hehmeyers remained in Washington where they began their family with the birth in
1945 of their son Philip Leland Hehmeyer and resided there during the post-war years.
But in 1952 The National Cotton Council offered Mr. Hehmeyer an executive position,
and they moved to Memphis. Their second son Christopher Key Hehmeyer, born in
Memphis in 1955, completed their family. Both Philip and Chris attended East High
School and were graduated from the University of the South.
Shirley continued as a home-maker, worked in the offices of St. John’s Episcopal
Church, and acquired her real estate broker’s license in 1972 with the commendation of
the highest grade ever achieved.
Walter Hehmeyer served for many years on the Board of Directors of the Memphis
Orchestral Society and became the Symphony’s general manager in 1974. Shirley was
an accomplished pianist and loved music, particularly jazz music for piano and shared
that love with her family and friends throughout her life.
Following his retirement in 1980, Walter and Shirley moved to Oxford, MS, and began a
time together they truly enjoyed. Walter passed away in Oxford in 1987, some five years
following the tragic suicide of their son Philip, then chairman of The New York Cotton
In 1988 Shirley moved back to Memphis. Shirley's daughter in law, Janis Hehmeyer (nee
Cranny) passed in 2006. Shirley is survived by her son Chris and his daughter Catherine
Leland Hehmeyer and son Christopher Key Hehmeyer, Jr., all of Chicago.
The family wishes to express its deep gratitude to Shirley’s devoted and loving friends
known as Team Shirley (T. Frank Jackson, Susan Carr Oppenheimer, and Debbie
Hooser) and to the angels sent from heaven who were her care-givers.
A funeral service will be 11 a.m. Friday, February 4th at St. John’s Episcopal Church,
preceded by visitation at 10 a.m. in the Parish Hall of St. John’s. Interment will be in
In lieu of flowers the family requests memorials may be sent to The Boy Choir at St. John’
s Episcopal Church, 3245 Central Ave., Memphis, TN 38111 or to the Golf Course
Project at The University of the South, Office of Development, Sewanee, TN 37375.
Canale Funeral Directors 901-452-6400